FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 28, 2016
The Midwest Food Processors Association (MWFPA) today expressed support for child nutrition reauthorization legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that includes language to expand the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) to allow schools to serve a greater range of fruits and vegetables, including frozen.
Introduced by the House Education and Workforce Committee, the “Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016” (H.R. 5003) authorizes all federal child nutrition programs. The bill contains a provision that expands USDA’s FFVP to allow schools to serve all forms of fruits and vegetables – fresh, frozen, canned and dried as snacks. Currently the program restricts schools to serving only fresh produce
“MWFPA commends the members of the House Education and Workforce Committee for leading efforts to expand USDA’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program,” said MWFPA President Nick George. “Improving childhood nutrition and healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime, starts with getting children to eat more fruits and vegetables. Expanding the program to serve “all forms” ensures children receive the maximum educational and nutritional benefits of the program while schools get the most for their money” he added.
“As confirmed by Frozen Food Foundation – commissioned nutritional studies conducted by the Universities of Georgia (UGA) and California – Davis (UC Davis), frozen fruits and vegetables are as rich in nutrients, and often more so, than fresh-stored produce,” said George.
MWFPA and a coalition of more than 50 allied trade associations and fruit and vegetable producers recently sent a letter to leadership of the House Education and the Workforce Committee stressing that USDA’s own 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that Americans eat more fruits and vegetables, regardless of the form, and expanding the FFVP would align the program with the agency’s recommendations.
It is expected that the House Committee on Education and the Workforce will schedule a markup of the bill soon. Once approved by the committee, the bill will need to be considered by the full House. The Senate reauthorization bill, approved by committee in January, awaits full Senate consideration.